Delta College will offer wine hospitality courses for the first time this spring, an exciting opportunity for workers in the restaurant and tourism industries to increase their earnings, and for wine lovers in general to learn more about one of their favorite pastimes.
Students have the option of taking a sequence of classes and earning a degree or certificate in wine hospitality. Or they can simply take a class or two to increase their knowledge.
Either way, this new area of study makes sense at a College whose service area includes the Lodi wine country, home to 80 boutique wineries and an area that produces nearly 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel, according to the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Across San Joaquin County as a whole, more than 600,000 tons of grapes were harvested in 2020, worth approximately $340 million.
"This is an amazing chance for Delta College to give members of our community expertise in an industry that is increasingly important for our region," said Mark Berkner, culinary arts professor at Delta. "Whether you work with wine for a living and want to increase your skills and make more money, or if you simply love wine and think you’d enjoy learning more about it, these new classes will be of interest to you."
Courses offered in Spring Semester are:
- Introduction to Viticulture/Winemaking (CUL ART 31): Learn about the world of viticulture, including the history of wine, varieties of grapes from around the world, how wine is made, and how to evaluate taste.
- Wine Service for Hospitality (CUL ART 91): Learn how to serve wine in the hospitality industry, including how to purchase and store wine, how to put together a wine list, and standards for serving in a restaurant or banquet setting.
- Food and Wine Pairing (CUL ART 92): Learn how to pair wines with appropriate foods, including how to suggest and sell appropriate wines in a restaurant setting. Students will spend time in the kitchen matching foods that pair well with various wines.
Interested? To get started at Delta, visit deltacollege.edu/apply
You can also learn more about the spring wine hospitality courses by searching for “wine” at deltacollege.search.collegescheduler.com
Please note: Since some courses involve wine tasting, students must be at least 21 years of age.
Berkner says the wine hospitality program is a good fit for servers in restaurants who can earn bigger tips by learning how to better market appropriate wines to their patrons. These skills may also come in handy for those who are working, or would like to work, in tasting rooms at local wineries in and around Lodi, the Delta and in the Sierra foothills.
Wine enthusiasts, meanwhile, may savor the chance to learn more about a subject they love.
The courses have been under development for several years in consultation with the local wine industry. In the future, additional courses will include tasting room operations, direct to consumer wine sales, wine marketing and winery event planning.
"Very few colleges in California are offering wine hospitality courses, and yet we know that the wine industry is rapidly growing in many areas," Berkner said. "It’s a perfect pairing for Delta College."